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Tips for a Sustainable Purim

Coming up toward the end of the month of February is the Jewish holiday of Purim. Purim celebrates unity and community as we commemorate how we were rescued from Haman’s plot to kill the Jewish people.

Purim is a holiday with many wonderful traditions. These include delivering gift baskets of food to friends (the practice of Shalach Manot); dressing up (and/or dressing up your children) as characters from the Book of Esther; and baking and eating Hamantashen, fruit-filled pastries in the shape of the evil Haman’s hat. Below are some tips to follow to make your Purim gift giving, baking and costume creation more environmentally friendly.

  • Switch from a basket to a reusable container: Instead of placing your gifts in a basket that will end up in a landfill, try a reusable container. This can be a reusable bag, a mug, a glass container, a pasta drainer or a similar item that can be used all year long.
  • Include healthy snacks in your gift package: Make at least part of your gift bag healthy, including organic fruits and fair trade chocolate in the package
  • Make your own costumes: Invite your children to raid their parents’ closets to look for outfits, shoes, hats and jewelry that befit a Queen Esther or Mordechai; or do a clothing swap with friends to find just what you need for a Purim costume
  • Donate any unneeded gift items: If you find you have an excess of food after receiving your Shalach Manot, donate the unopened leftovers to a local food pantry or homeless shelter to benefit those in need.
  • Bake healthy versions of Hamantashen: Make your own Hamantashen with locally produced and organic jams and jellies. You can often find these at indoor winter farmers’ markets. Use whole wheat organic flour for the pastry.

Resources: Sviva Israel www.svivaisrael.org

This blog originally appeared in jewishinslouis.org at http://www.jewishinstlouis.org/blog.aspx?id=345

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Gail Wechsler is the Director of Domestic Issues/Social Justice at the Jewish Community Relations Council of St. Louis. She is the staff person for the Jewish Environmental Initiative (JEI), a committee of the JCRC and a part of the JCRC's Bohm Social Justice Initiative.
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